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Pointers on where to have SCS unit placed ?

RRraeRRRrae Posts: 85
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:41 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi Friends,
After a successful trial, I will be getting the permanent on Feb 24th. The leads will be placed at L2-L3 to cover pain in both legs. My doc said the unit will be put in the hip/buttock area. I am looking for pointers and things to take into consideration regarding the incision site.
One person said to put a mark on my skin above my pants waistline. I am wondering about other things that may become an issue? Such as, wearing a seatbelt? Sitting comfortably in a chair at home? Office chair at my desk job? Wearing clothes? Will I be able to lay on my back?
I've been reading everyone's experiences.
I very much appreciate this forum.
Thanks for sharing



  • My doc had me sit up on the edge of the gurney in a normal position and he marked the area where the IPG would be placed. I think it worked out really well because it doesn't get stressed by normal sitting and it's easy to recharge by sitting in the recliner. It is just below my belt line, yet not so far down that it gets forced outward by the curvature of the muscle. This way I can wear normal clothes, sit in just about any chair and not have to worry about it.

  • Mine is just below my belt line on my upper right hip/buttock. I am right-handed, and I appreciate the comfort and convenience of having the IPG on the right side for charging and adjusting programs.

    My doctor actually didn't ask me where I wanted it and made it clear he preferred upper hip/buttock, versus abdomen. I was worried initially, because I don't have that much fat on my buttocks. lol Wondered if the IPG would stick out or be noticeable without having much fat cushion to hide it in. Hasn't been a problem.

    I did end up being one lucky duck as I recovered from surgery and realized that the area where the IPG was permanently numb and I had almost no pain recovering in that area. In most others, they report the IPG pocket healing as quite uncomfortable for a bit. I am numb laterally hip to toes and hadn't considered that blessing ahead of time.

    Good luck!

  • My IPG is in a different location than C and Cheri. Mine is located on the left side, right at the top of the belt line. To understand exactly where, place your hand on your left hip, then slide your hand around to your back and up about 1/2 inch. I'm right handed and I find it rather convenient, cause I can hold the antenna with the left hand and make adjustments with my right. My only regret is that I wish the IPG was about a 1/2 inch higher. Guys don't wear hiphuggers, so when I recharge, I have to push everything down about a 1/4 inch while charging. I don't know about women, but for guys, if you change anything with how we normally wear our clothes, it drives us crazy. Maybe I should recharge when I'm naked, now that's the ticket.

  • Mine was originally just above my waist, just about the same place as Dave described, except mine is on my right side.

    Just something to keep in mind, if you suspect you're going to drop a significant amount of weight after your implant -

    As I've been losing weight, my IPG has been moving. Right now, it's a little more than an inch lower than where it started out, which put the top edge of it right under the band of my pants. That placement is really annoying and results in a lot of pocket irritation lately. I had no idea my IPG would be moving the way it is! If it had been in my butt cheek, it'd probably be sliding down the back of my thigh soon.. :))(

    I've never been terribly excited about having it in the back, so as soon as I finish losing the weight, I'm having it moved to the right side of my abdomen, which is where I wanted it to start with. That's still a ways down the road, though.

  • As far as don't let them get it to close to your beltline! Mine was supposed to go in my abdomen I talked at length with the PM and his PA about it. I woke up with it about where Dave and Bionic woman say theirs is. Only mine is like a direct, "you sunk my battleship" hit on my beltline, tight rear, but closer to the side than the rear! Arg....

    I either have to wear pants like I'm a gangsta or grampa! Neither of which works for me! Grampa mode actually has the pants above the ipg pulling down on it, NOT GOOD at all. When I have to do a lot of walking or hurrying things at work it feels like a book of matches has been lit and held against the pocket.

    I can deal with that, except the burn lasts for 2-3 days once aggravated. Ice packs don't do anything at all for it. I just have to wait it out.

    I would love to have mine moved, but just can't stand the thought of having it done! So for now, I just keep hoping things will calm down at some point!
  • If you can get your doctor to prescribe it, Voltaren gel works really well for me, to calm the irritation at the pocket site.
  • My Dr. also gave me the choice of where to put it, but I really didn't think about this enough ahead of time. So it is good that you are thinking this through ahead of time. I was litterally sitting in the preop area minutes before surgery discussing it with my Dr. I didn't want it right on my beltline so mine is about a couple of inches above my beltline on the mid right side. As of the surgery I had excess fat there but as I have been loosing weight the area has been decreasing and I have felt the IPG protroding a little more already. It doesn't bother me at all sitting or laying down. To get a good charge I pretty much have to lay on my side as I am not able to get a good charge walking around and sitting back in a chair doesn't work since it would be really uncomfortable and the charger would likely overheat and shut off anyways. Overall I am fine with where it was placed.

    I believe that you said that you were getting the Boston Scientific at one point. That is also what I have so if you have any questions, let me know. The BS reps that I have worked with are fantastic!
  • Well hey hey hey ! The whole gang showed up <):)
    It's amazing how everybody's differs slightly.
    Man, Wrambler what a drag they didn't put yours where you had agreed upon. ! I do admire your wit, even tho sometimes you get the short end of the stick. Actually I bet you'd make a totally COOL grampa/gangsta B).
    And Dave, running around naked while charging sounds kinda fun.... :)))
    And the 'losing weight' issue! THANK you for bringing that up! I gained about 30 lbs when I was on Lyrica. I've lost 20 so far (including 10 just since the trial implant). So I will keep this in mind. Like Biowoman said... mine would probably slip down into my buttcrack. That would be my luck.
    ehemm. :B
    I'll keep looking for input. It's great to just 'talk' about it. I'll probably even become a pest. But i promise not to get as mental as I did during my trial. lol
    Thanks guys
  • Regarding the tender area of the IPG. Maybe Lidocaine patch over the site would help 'numb' the sensitivity when it get's bumped or pushed on.
    That wouldn't be feasible until after the incision has healed of course, but I always did wonder if there were SOME way to cushion that area?
    ....something like a 'maxi-pad', only customized to fit over an IPG pocket... ? :? Maybe I should patent this idea?
  • The pain in the behind from the burning IPG pocket is a good reminder, (especially early on in the healing process), to take it easy while the leads scar in. Some of us feel so much better with the SCS, that if it weren't for the post surgical pain, we'd be doing things way before our 8 weeks of no BLT is up!

  • Rae, I think you'll be ok if you don't need to lose a lot beyond the rest of that 30lbs.

    I started noticing the movement with my IPG when I got close to 50lbs lost, but the big sliding didn't start until I got to about 70lbs lost and it's gotten progressively worse since that point.

  • Not to sidetrack this thread, but I think your weight loss is AMAZING BionicWoman!! You are truly an inspiration to me to keep on losing. :)
  • I'm sure my neurosurgeon placed mine where she thought it should be, but where it is in my left hip is exactly the pressure point where my lower back rubs on a car seat or chair. I chose the left side because I am left handed. I wish it could be a little higher and over more towards my spine and if I had it to do over, I probably would choose the right side. You just don't know what kind of reactions you're going to have before it is put in there! I spend a lot of time in my car with my job and that is when I get the most discomfort. I also have a lot of sensitivity after charging my battery for a day or two. Thankfully I am not having to charge more frequently than 10-12 days apart.
    I do want to say that it is merely an annoyance, and very much worth it. I told my husband earlier this week that there are many days when my hip bothers me a lot more than my neck and that is a tremendous statement! That means the stimulator is doing what it is supposed to. I still have some neck pain and am currently still taking a muscle relaxer 3 times/day and using my pain meds (just Lortab) as needed, and may always have to do that, but life is a lot better. I am almost 3 months post surgery now and expect things to continue to improve.
    Good luck to you.
  • I think the push to get "off the meds" is a wonderful idea, I also think that for a fair amount of us it is total B.S. plain and simple, the scs places another sensation on top of or replaces the pain. It is not a perfect science. To me it will block 60-80% of my pain if the pain is in the right place any given day.
    An SCS for me does nothing for cramping crawling muscle spasms. Thankfully I have a shrink who understands and was/is willing to step in and help me get that under control.

    My point is that while being completly off meds is a wonderful goal, don't get so wrapped up in it you suffer mental or physical anguish if it just doesn't happen!
  • I do believe a shrink is what i need! I hear you loud and clear Wramber about the meds issue. My cocky doctor seems to think that once we get our SCS's, we are to just throw away our pain meds. I'm FAR from being a genius, but I do know that those meds are necessary. The trial implant gave me a clear picture of the fact that there are SEVERAL different pain issues to weed thru.

    Honeysmom, thank you for pitching in too! I'm sorry to hear yours irritates your back.
    Someone mentioned something about a special type of 'pouch' thingy that the IPG sits in. I think it's purpose was to prevent scar tissue from complicating things. Anyone heard of this? I'll try to find my notes i wrote down the exact name of this thing.
    Actually that would make sense to have the battery enclosed in some sort of protection - for extra 'cushion' ?
    Maybe that would make it hard to charge the battery tho. I dunno.

    and yes! cheers =D> here's to losing weight!
  • My shrink, but he is faculty at a training/teaching, etc; hospital. I only got to see him as a very close friend pulled some strings.

    I can only see him on Thursday's and then he has to give me the time on a slip, I have to take it out to the front desk and they have to manually manipulate his schedule so he can see me!

    He is not real wild about the Valium, Flexeril, Ambien combo, but I have told him very simply that both my PCP and PM are no help in this at all. since my shrink has lower back pain he totally understands the lack of treatment options. My PM and PCP seem to think that the SCS is some magical wand. I have to check his wall, I think he got his degree at Hogwarts!

    Not giving up my shrink. Once upon a time I dreamed of not taking any meds, now, I just want to be as comfortable as I can AND be able to do some things once and a while!
  • The Meds certainly DO have their place. One of my biggest pet peeves is a doctor who has an attitude about them. [(
  • :''( I am a newbie. I am a disabled vet--I fell 30 ft. while in Ranger school and landed on my feet, mostly the R foot. I have had pain in R foot for over 35 years. In 2003 my L5/S1 discs ruptured. Had fusion and on the way from hospital a truck ran into the back and totaled our car. Now also have CRIPS in R leg along with R foot pain.

    I had the Ion implant installed 5 weeks ago with the IPG in R butt cheek. The IPG site began burning after 4 days, spreading down covering my entire R thigh. After 4 weeks (last week), I demanded the IPG be removed and another one installed in my L butt cheek. This happeded on Monday. Now, on Wednesday, my entire L butt cheek feels like a branding iron is against it. I can tell that this is spreading also.

    Does anyone understand my delimma? Am I having an allergic reaction to the IPG?
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